Karma hit former attorney, Creepy Porn Lawyer, and now convicted extortionist Michael Avenatti square between the eyes Thursday in a Manhattan courtroom when he was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison for attempting to extort up to $22.5 million from Nike. Avenatti’s woes are far from over; he’s set to go to trial on 10 counts (out of a 36-count indictment) of tax fraud starting July 13 in Orange County, California.
Avenatti once bragged that he was never going down, but would go down swinging if he did, and he kept his promise. The 50-year-old was convicted in February 2020 of extortion, transmission of interstate communications with intent to extort, and wire fraud. Here’s a bit of background from the Wall Street Journal:
The case grew out of Mr. Avenatti’s threats to expose purported corruption in Nike’s elite basketball program unless the apparel giant paid him to conduct an internal investigation.
Around February 2019, Mr. Avenatti began representing a youth basketball coach whose elite team had recently lost a sponsorship deal with Nike.
On March 19, 2019, Mr. Avenatti—accompanied by Los Angeles lawyer Mark Geragos —met in New York with two of Nike’s outside lawyers from law firm Boies Schiller Flexner LLP. Mr. Avenatti said his client had evidence that Nike employees had funneled illegal secret payments to the families of top high-school basketball players, according to evidence presented at trial. Mr. Avenatti threatened to expose the payments at a news conference the next day unless Nike paid his client a $1.5 million settlement and hired Messrs. Avenatti and Geragos to conduct an internal investigation, according to evidence at trial.
Mr. Geragos wasn’t charged, and didn’t testify at the trial. His lawyers disputed Mr. Avenatti’s efforts, before the trial, to characterize him as an accomplice.
The coach testified at trial that he didn’t know about Mr. Avenatti’s proposed quid-pro-quo arrangement.
Judging by a pre-trial memo filed by prosecutors in Avenatti’s tax and wire fraud case in California, the coach most likely didn’t know about the quid-pro-quo arrangement. Avenatti’s modus operandi was to deceive his clients to enrich himself, so that
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